Questionnaires are structured, proactive forms sent to members of your team to gather information and encourage both transparency and compliance with policies. They can be sent to random samples of employees, on a regular schedule, based on an event like completion of work travel, or other ways that support your goals. While many people think these only as stiff, check-the-box activities with little impact, they can be much more than that.
When properly utilized, Questionnaire Forms can not only give leadership key information about potential risks, but also build a two-way relationship across the employee base and improve your culture through cooperation and engagement. Read on to learn about the top 10 drivers for intelligently using Questionnaire Forms.
Top 10 Questionnaire Drivers
1. Training Completion
Starting with an easy one, compliance pros automate questionnaires to both ask for information and remind employees related to required training. Some integrated LMS systems might ask directly for employees to report incidents related to a certain training module. You can replace (or even augment) those efforts with your own request after training is completed. In addition to asking while the topic is top-of-mind, you have the added benefit of both refocusing the learner on the issue in a new context, as well as building that much sought after compliance impact to support both your training and your Issue Intake budget ROI!
2. Training Refresher
Similar to the post-training questionnaire, you can schedule automated requests to roll out 1, 3, or 6 months after training is completed. This might be as easy as picking a calendar date if your training all happens on the same cycle, or you can load an employee list by cohort and space them out separately. Either way, you’re building both transparency and collaboration into your compliance culture as you prompt employees with an easy way to join in identifying and stopping bad behavior.
3. Vendor Event
It’s a good idea to consider what risks might happen around certain vendor interactions. Whether its a vacation cloaked in a conference advertisement, or just an annual visit and dinner outing, you can gently and securely invite employees who attend to reconsider their interactions in light of your policies. Maybe someone witnessed clear violations in person, or maybe they just heard through the grapevine about something that might be concerning. Either way, proactive Questionnaires make it clear that violations will be dealt with and lower barriers to engagement for honestly concerned employees.
4. Contract Season
Of course, you have clear standards on what contract terms you’ll allow to be negotiated, and strict RFP guidelines to ensure clean, fair purchasing, But you also know that vendor relationships, contracts, and activities can be a major source of risk in your organization. As you find the right timing and recipients to match to your largest vendor risks (hint: these may not just be your largest contracts!), you can send secure questionnaires to people involved to check for misbehavior and fix the problem before it creates a negative impact.
5. Work Travel
What’s the bigger source of risk: the way expense accounts are misused, or the behavior of your employees while spending? While you debate that, let’s agree that both are perennial sources of risk that people always seem to try to get around. There’s something about being out of the office (and maybe away from a looming boss) that ruins many employees’ discretion. Questionnaires can be ready so the employee/witness who cares more about the company’s mission than the bar tab can direct your attention to the items that need it most.
6. Conference Attendance
Where do travel, gifts, liquor, contracts, and high-priced entertainment go to party? To conferences, of course! Shield your company from risks while reinforcing a commitment to a culture you’ll be proud of by sending Questionnaires about key risks after a conference. Consider asking about: inappropriate employee behavior, expense account abuse, accepting gifts in violation with policies, or other potential legal or reputational risks.
7. Customer / Client Visit
If you have policies around sales team behavior, contract terms, entertaining, etc. then you should be thinking about when those are most likely to be at risk of violation and consider a Questionnaire tied to that. An official or unofficial customer visit might be just one of these incidents. With the right coordination (e.g., if visits are approved beforehand, if expenses are reviewed after the visit), you can leverage Questionnaires to request reports of concerning incidents while reminding employees of the important things to look out for.
8. Sales Transfer
As you look closer at sales practices, you might want to consider how culture and behavior differ across positions and regions. When a salesperson transfers to a new position, this is a great time to gather information while the contrast is fresh in the employee’s mind. That freshness, paired with a safe distance from the prior culture (and the retaliation fear that might come with it) makes this a great trigger for a Questionnaire. You gain the added benefit of reminding the transferring employee about your standards, and inviting them to report anything they see on their new team.
9. Exit Interviews
As you continue to look for events that would drive a deeper look via a Questionnaire, you should definitely consider employee departures. Studies show that employees are more open, less inhibited (including less fearful of retaliation), and more willing to discuss negative events when they are departing a position. While you may deal with some feedback colored by dissatisfaction with their departure, you’re still likely to uncover issues and misbehavior that the employee was unwilling to divulge while working for their next promotion. (Tip: you can also use this same principle to send a questionnaire around an employee promotion!)
10. Expense Review
While related to some earlier drivers like business travel, expense violations are a common enough occurrence that we felt this ‘kickoff event’ warranted its own section. It’s a good practice to consider sampling or regularly sending Questionnaires to managers and employees around the time expense reimbursements are reviewed. Don’t miss your chance by focusing too narrowly: be sure to ask employees about violations they’ve seen or heard talked about.
So there you have it. Our Top 10 Questionnaire Drivers likely gave you some new ideas on how to leverage this flexible and powerful tool, and maybe reminded you about some you don’t have in place yet. Drop us a line, check out some of our related podcast topics, or get a conversation going on LinkedIn about how you plan to use Questionnaires to make your world a better workplace.